Hi there families and kids! My name is Shelby and I’m a certified therapy dog who sometimes comes to visit AWS on Wednesdays during Rescue Readers. My handler and I love to visit you kids because we believe in the program and have seen first hand how it can make a difference for those who struggle to read out loud. If you’re not familiar with Rescue Readers, let me tell you all about it!
Although I’m relatively new to the program, Animal Welfare Society has been hosting Rescue Readers for many years now. In a nutshell, Rescue Readers is open to students in grades 1-8 who are interested in reading out loud to animals like me. We’ve found that reading aloud forms a special bond between student and pet that makes the child feel safe. It provides enrichment and positive socialization for animals at the shelter, it boosts confidence in the children reading, and it gives students a safe space to build a positive association with reading. It’s really a win-win for everybody!
For therapy dogs like me, I get to enjoy the confidence and fun that children have when they pick up a good book and we settle down to read. I love to listen patiently and enjoy getting gentle pets and head rubs as I listen to the story. I really have the best job! For the resident shelter pets, they really enjoy the socialization and enrichment of getting read to while they wait for their happy homes. Whether it’s a dog, a cat, a hamster, a bird, or the occasional reptile, any animal can benefit from getting read to!
My favorite part, however, besides the treats and the attention and the good stories is that any good pet like me is non-judgmental. If you’re a child who struggles to read, has stage fright reading out loud, or wants to better your reading with more challenging books, I’m here to listen and help. I don’t care if you need to take your time or skip over big words or simply want to make up your own story to go along with the pictures… I’ll always wag my tail and give you kisses! Reading should be fun and us pets will ensure that it stays that way.
If you and your family want to come read to pets like me here at AWS, I have som good news! The program is completely FREE and only requires that you register in advance. It takes places every Wednesday from 3:00 pm – 4:00pm and there are two, half-hour sessions. I might not be able to make it to every reading, but I promise that there are plenty of wonderful pets here who are ready and eager to listen to a good story. We just need you to pick out a good book for us!
Register now for next Wednesday and ensure that you get a spot to read to resident pets like me. We can’t wait to hear from you!!